Zero Food Waste

A report published by the Value Chain Management Centre in December 2014 indicates the value of Canada’s food waste in 2014 was $31 billion. Occurring at every place along the food value chain – from farm to table – the costs associated with this waste are absorbed by everyone including consumers, retailers, and farmers. This waste also comes at a significant environmental toll as finite resources are wasted in the production and disposal of food.

In addressing this concern, food retailers across the globe are adopting strategies to mitigate the amount of food that leaves their doors as “waste”. From marketing “imperfect” fruits and vegetable at discounted rates to the donation of food to community food programs, this trend watches consumers and retailers place value on unsold foods that, in recent history, have had little to no perceived social or economic value.

Governments are beginning to respond by developing laws friendly to the Zero Food Waste concept, such as supporting the diversion of recovered food to community food programs. Major supermarkets in France currently donate unsold edible food to non-profits and expired food to farms for animal feed or compost. In 2015, Vancouver and Victoria passed by-laws to redirect food scraps from residential and commercial garbage, because they discovered food scraps made up 40% of materials brought to landfills.

Harvest House Food Bank is working diligently with four Food Recovery Partners to improve our footprints on landfills and help those in need maintain a better food security. We have been working with 49th Parallel Grocery for many years in recovering their excess bread and buns. Kentucky Fried Chicken in Ladysmith has been working with us since September 2018 to recover their leftover chicken, each day. All food safe protocols are maintained and our clients enjoy this as an extra protein each month. The local SPCA joined with us March 2020 to help our clients’ furry friends. This has been a major bonus, as animal food can be very expensive. June 2nd, 2020 we partnered with Nanaimo Loaves and Fishes. They offer fresh produce and frozen proteins EACH week for our clients. We also share this abundance with our neighbours, Chemainus Neighbourhood House, who then are able to make soups, preserves and homemade lunch items for their clients. Communities working together to help those in need is what we all work towards. Our clients have been most appreciative of these programs, and it has enhanced their daily lives with an abundance of food in their bags each week.